As I begin this next post, I thought that I’d explain a few things for your general background knowledge before I continue with my photographs of our squadron ski trip to St. Johann in Tyrol or “Sankt Johann,” Austria. St. Johann is near Kitzbühel, Austria, in the state of Tyrol (also spelled Tirol in German); which is in western Austria, south of the German state of Bavaria. This is a region of Austria that I have been to many times; and along with Bavaria, Switzerland and northern Italy – my favorite region of the world. There is something magical and special about the Alps and the beautiful scenery that is very special to me.
A tradition at Spangdahlem AB during my time there was for squadrons to organize ski trips in late January or February each year. This was my first squadron ski trip and the time is around late January or February of 1984. Because the 52nd TFW had only recently reorganized, there were various members of both the 23rd TFS “Fighting Hawks” and 480th TFS “Warhawks” together on this combined ski trip to St. Johann. Although there was always a great rivalry between fighter squadrons, there was also a great deal of respect and camaraderie as well.
As way of background, I don’t identify people that are in the various photos that I post online in order to respect their privacy, as many people don’t want to be identified on the internet and I respect that. I also can’t remember many names after all of these years. Also, if someone who was in one of my photos wants their own copy, they can simply download the picture for themselves. Anyone else from around the world can view these pictures, and get impressions of places that they may never have had the opportunity to visit – and may decide to plan a vacation to a destination that they’ve seen here.
There are many reasons that I’ve created this blog about, “Life, Love and the Human Condition.” Of course, there is the autobiographical nature of telling my own personal story in words and photos. There is also the creative aspect of having a central spot to catalogue my various interests and writings. But beyond the obvious, there are other reasons that I’m putting my life online in this blog. First of all, much of what I’ve done and where I’ve gone is historical in nature and this blog allows me to be a historian and record the events of my life. Also, within the historical context, much of my Air Force experience happened at bases or squadrons that were closed, deactivated or relocated. So someone has to tell the story of what transpired in those years that are now so long ago.
The greatest reason for this blog though, is not about me or the Air Force at all – or about anything that I’ve ever done. In my autobiography while on my first bicycle trip around America, I note how initially we seemed to always be warned to “watch out” for the folks in the next region that we would be traveling through. Of course, this turned out to be complete nonsense, because everyone treated us in an outstanding manner – so well in fact, that I can never repay them all for their kindness and hospitality. What I want to do here, is to show people through my life story, my writings and my photographs – that this is really “one world” that we all share in common – and that “people are people” no matter where you go. I’ve traveled through North America, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa and the Middle East – and I have always been shown the most respect, the greatest kindness, and provided with wonderful hospitality – no matter where I was. From the folks that took me into their homes on my various bicycle trips; to the guide that took me on a Safari near Nairobi, Kenya; to the two Arab men that insisted I share a cup of tea with them over a campfire along an isolated beach near Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates – people are all alike at their basic nature. They are all proud of their region, heritage, culture, language, work and achievements. They all want the respect that they are owed, the freedom and opportunity of self-determination, the ability to live their lives in peace and in a way and manner that suits them.
I’ve heard many interviews from the astronauts that returned from the moon in the Apollo Program, and a common theme was that while returning from the moon; they were strongly affected by the obvious reality that we all share this one beautiful planet called Earth, we all have a stake in our outcome together – and we should all work together to fix our problems and help one another along the way – because it is the only choice that makes any sense. So if my travels and experiences can in some small way, help to convince folks around the world to find a peaceful and cooperative way to pursue all of our common goals together – as part of the greater whole that is humanity – then I will have achieved what I set out to do through this blog called, “Life, Love and the Human Condition.”